This is going to be a long post, and you probably won’t read it. I don’t really care. I’m writing this for me because I have to get it all out somewhere. This is 6-8 months worth of posts, people. This is the story of NotGeorge.
Maybe you’ll recall several months ago that NotGeorge appeared on my list of crushes. What started out in a “typical” blogger relationship, reading each other’s posts and commenting, developed into an online friendship. We began instant messaging each other and talking on the phone. There would be times I’d look up at the clock and realize we had been talking for 6 hours without pause. When a bottle of wine was involved, we would jokingly refer to these as “dates”. There was the obligatory exchange of pictures and my declaration that we were just friends. Still, there was minor flirting on both parts, and he wormed his way in. My crush developed. This is someone I would talk to every day. He got in, made it past my firewall.
There were warning signs that I think I wanted to ignore. Despite the flirting, this was no relationship. He made mention of other women, and I was busy kissing him and him. Eventually the inevitable happened, and a job interview brought him to DC and a weekend with me. As it got closer and closer to our actual meeting, I confessed I had developed a bit of a crush and was tired of hearing of these other potential women, particularly the body builder*. We had what I think was a frank discussion on the potential chemistry we may or may not have, and I began to get nervous about actually meeting him.
Meeting any fellow blogger for the first time is unnerving, but imagine meeting one you had developed a bit of a fondness for. I felt like I was being forced to take a midterm I couldn’t study for. Waiting to face someone at the airport who is supposed to stay with you for the next four days is unnerving. Oh wait, did I say supposed to stay with me? The first wrench in what could have been a smooth meeting was tossed in by me. Circumstances outside of my control dictated that he couldn’t stay at my apartment, so rather than tell him about it in advance, I arranged other accommodations. This is not the kind of information to wait to impart to someone you just met and that has just stepped off an airplane. It’s something I’m still living down.
Once we got past the fact that he would be staying in a motel, the weekend went ok. I was definitely a bundle of nerves that first night, but the first full day was better. After his first round of interviews, we met up for some legal reception and later his friend for drinks. Alcohol definitely helped the cause, putting everyone more at ease. Honestly, at this point I was still trying to figure out if we had “it” but was thinking maybe we did. Nerves made my emotions so difficult to sort out.
That night I stayed at the motel with him, and talk about awkward. I had no idea what to do with myself (no…not like that). I was supposed to be the aggressive one. That’s the way our online conversations played out, but how can you be sexually aggressive with someone you’ve just met. I guess you can’t really if you’re me. What ensued was quirky at worst, sweet at best. There was the back scratching thing**, the minor wrestling thing, and the cuddling/spooning/trying to sleep thing.
Stress levels were back up the next day because my birthday party was that night, and he was going to meet a good number of my friends, including all of the Not girls and some of the characters like NotGraceful*** and NotBeast***. To keep this as short as possible, let’s just say that on my birthday I got drunk, became obsessed with NotSamantha’s flogger and made a number of sloppy passes and the statement, “I don’t want to want you.”****
I woke that Sunday morning to be told that he was glad I (the sober, sane one) was back and that he had started not to like me last night. Despite hearing I’d made such an ass of myself, what ensued was an endearing day of napping and talking on the couch with some Amazing Race that night. At one point, NotGeorge shoots me a look and when asked what it was for, he says he is considering jumping me. When I ask why he doesn’t, the subject is changed. A bit later I look at him and tell him I want him to kiss me. His response is that part of him wants to kiss me, too. I ask about the part that doesn’t and what ensues is a confusing conversation about his being afraid if we took that next step we’d eventually lose the friendship and closeness that we have. In spite of the conversation, kissing did occur, and I’m really having a hard time describing it. Was there the chemistry that told my brain I’d die if he ever stopped kissing me? No. It was nice…and sweet…and I could have gone on kissing him for a long time. However, I sensed him holding back.
As I was driving him to the airport the next morning, I had wrapped my mind around the fact that we were destined for friends-only territory and had already decided it would be a goodbye hug at the airport. And then he kisses me goodbye. When I return the kiss somewhat platonically, his response is, “that’s all?” We kiss again with a bit more passion, and I say something about the fact that I think I’m going to miss him. I surprise myself by shedding a tear as I drive away.
At this point, I’m completely confused and becoming a total girl. Wtf? Are we friends? Are we more than friends? Rather than confronting this issue head on, I do what any girl would do…I analyze…and analyze. He’s back at home and things go somewhat back to normal. I think that perhaps I’ll see him when I go home for the holidays and things will get sorted out then. In the meantime, we continue to chat online and on the phone.
Flash forward a couple of weeks, and I get an email asking if I would be willing to drive from Austin to San Francisco with him and help him move after Christmas. Always up for an adventure, I agree. In a follow-up email, he writes this (among other things):
“We could spend a romantic new year’s eve in some motel! J”
What? Was he joking? My stomach flipped a little and the girl in me thought maybe. The warning signs were still there, though. I should have been taking off the rose-colored glasses and busting out a copy of He’s Just Not That Into You. There were comments like, “I wish I had a girlfriend to…” I knew clarity had to be gained on the road to San Francisco.
(This post is really too long. Sorry!)
So, two weeks ago I travel to Austin and set out to help this man move from Austin to San Francisco and see a little bit of the country in the process. Moving is stressful, but it’s been a while since I’ve fought with someone as much as we bickered at the beginning of that trip. He would get frustrated and bark at me, putting me on edge and making me get snippy back. We weren’t communicating or were (quite literally) not hearing what the other person was saying. I sobbed that first night after a misunderstanding***** that had us sleeping in separate cars at a truck stop in Van Horn, TX.
On the road the next day, I knew we needed to talk (and soon). I, at least, had to clear up the whole relationship issue. That night we stopped for sushi in Phoenix, and I decided to strike******. I brought up the airport and explained how it completely threw me, how I had been ready to be ok with friends and that it made me think and hope there was something more. He reasoned that (1) it was just a kiss; (2) after such an intense weekend, it had felt appropriate; and (3) he had also been a bit confused at the time. I think I made it clear that I don’t kiss my friends or sleep/cuddle with my friends. I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped when he responded by saying if he had wanted to be more than friends, he would have felt me up. Hmmm…insulted. This was turning into a positive trip. Once back on the road, I kept thinking I should cry, that I should be more upset. It didn’t happen though. Maybe the stress of our arguing had drained me of any emotion. Maybe I just wasn’t that into him. I don’t know. That brings us to this post.
(This is where I play amateur psychologist.)
There was more tension, more stress, but things did get better, especially once the moving and unpacking were done. We were more open about what frustrated us in the other. The days that followed were sightseeing and domestic errands. It’s odd how quickly you can lull yourself into a routine. I found myself developing a deeper bond of friendship with him through everything we had gone through. There were moments like New Year’s Eve when I wanted to kiss or walking down the street when it would have been nice to hold hands, but in general, it moved beyond that. On the way to the airport on Thursday, I had to bite my lip to keep from crying, managing not to cry until I was on the plane. While I had wanted to bail at different points in the trip, I was truly sad to go home. Leaving was hard, and it’s up to me to figure out why. Why did I feel a little incomplete that first day back? Why am I not angry at some of the things he said or the way the situation turned out? Why does a small part of me still want to make out with him?
*His story, not mine.
**His story, not mine.
***Both of whom happen to be in the charity auction.
****I did want to want him. I just didn’t want to want him if he didn’t want me.
*****The misunderstanding wasn’t the cause of us sleeping at a truck stop, but I don’t want to write the sentence differently.
******So the wrong word, since it took me forever to get out, and I basically reverted back to my 12 year old self.